Future Smart Reads, 14 October 2012

INDIA: A new app for Indian rail users will make things so much easier by using Google maps to track trains on a real-time basis. Which apps make your city more liveable?

MADRID: The Spanish capital’s renaissance was largely borne out of an urban transformation, which included some major building projects in recent times. However the recession put a brake on many of them, as well as many a developers dreams. But, the city still has hopes of a second coming, as it bids for the 2020 Olympic Games.

CHICAGO: The Highline in New York which replaced abandoned rail lines and introduced a new vibrant public space was perhaps not the first city to do so. In Chicago the 62 mile Illinois Prairie Path was created 50 years ago when the old railway line was cleared to create a public amenity across three counties. It just shows that with some vision and commitment by citizens that bath tubs, refrigerators, cars and railway lines can be removed to create a space and trail for the creation of better communities.

GLOBAL: 50,000 homes for over 20,000 families across 18 countries. The Urban Poor Fund International, is the first of its kind, to allow the urban poor a say on the urban development spending in their communities. The fund was launched in 2007 by Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), a network of community-based federations in 33 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America and has benefited communities from Khayelitsha in Cape Town to Menkuru Sinai in Nairobi.

NEW YORK CITY: The big Apple, perhaps one of the darlings of the urban world has become even smarter. The NYC Development Hub, a state-of-the-art plan review center created to accelerate the construction project approval process by accepting and reviewing digital construction plans will be expanded even further. Under a new program, called Hub Self-Service, licensed design professionals can now submit plans and obtain permits online for small construction projects too – such as home renovations, office improvements and facade repairs – without leaving their offices.

Image courtesy of Vilseskogen at flickr.com